Financial Freedom Category

The Trouble with Working from Home

July 26th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

Would you like to run your own business? I’m sure a lot of you do; after all, who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? :) I think that anyone who has the passion to start up their own business can do it, and with the power of the internet and online stores, it’s relatively easy to get started.

There is, however, one aspect of running a business that I believe can never be solely internet-based: having an office. I myself began my business in the comfort of my own home, mostly because it was more convenient and it cost me much less than if I rented out an office. It worked pretty well when I was starting out, but after a while, it became obvious that I needed an office away from home. Nathan Jansch’s Healthy Wealthy nWise article, “The Seven Problems with Working at Home”, actually discusses all of them in great detail, but I think I can summarize them even further for you right here. :)

Decreased Productivity
Working at home seemed to be a dream come true at first. I liked the setup because I was able to handle my personal errands while still working on my business, and there were no nosy co-workers or superiors poking around to see what I was doing. The problem with this was that, over time, I started spending more and more time doing non-work related things while I was at home. Sometimes I’d tell myself I’d spend only a few moments checking my Facebook newsfeed, then I’d get so caught up in it that an hour would zip by without me even realizing it. I found myself engaging in lengthy online chat sessions with my relatives abroad instead of working on the e-mails I had to respond to.

In other words, the relaxed environment and the privacy of my own home made me become more prone to procrastination. Sure, it was more fun to work at my own pace and to not have a boss who was ready to kick me to the curb the moment he spots me doing something unproductive, but that wasn’t really good for my work. Without the pressure of having other people checking up on me, I became too complacent. When I realized that, I figured that working from home is actually means you have to work even harder than you would at an office because you have to exercise a lot of self-discipline to counter-act the temptation to procrastinate.

No Tech Support
System breakdowns and internet problems can easily be addressed when you’re working in an office. You don’t even have to fix things yourself; you can just send out an e-mail or a support ticket to your IT guys, and voila! They’ll have the problem fixed for you in minutes.

When working from home, you’re going to have to do your own trouble-shooting if something goes wrong with your laptop. If you’re like me and aren’t tech-savvy, attempting to fix things on your own is going to cost you precious minutes or even hours.

Less Privacy
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Hold on, Adaire. Didn’t you just say that working at home means there won’t be any people to boss you around or check on what you’re doing? Doesn’t that mean that you actually get more privacy when you work from home?”

More privacy? Not exactly. Sure, you won’t have your co-workers or boss wandering around your home office, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never have to entertain any business associates at home. Even in this modern age where the internet reigns supreme, conducting meetings and discussions in person is still the best way to go about it. Now if you’re working from home, then where do you think these personal meetings will be done? In your home office, of course.

That was exactly how it was for me. My home was the venue for everything from meetings with my clients to interviews with my potential assistants. At first this was fine with me since I lived on my own and had no children or other relatives to worry about, but at some point it felt like my privacy was being invaded.

Sometimes I had to be flexible and accommodate clients and interviewees even beyond office hours. “That’s fine,” I thought. “I’m always at home anyway. No problem there.” I didn’t realize that there would be so much work involved in setting-up a meeting at home. I found that I had to tidy my house up to avoid giving my guests a bad impression about my cleanliness and discipline. After meetings and other business discussions, I would have to clean up again. Then when I’d start heading to my bedroom for a well-deserved rest, I spot my laptop and realize that I have some other work-related tasks I have to catch up on. After weeks of this routine, I realized that my personal, private life had become a mere sideline to me.

Decreased Credibility
Someone who works from home is often belittled and often dismissed as unprofessional. That may sound mean, but it’s the cold, hard truth. I’ve had clients suddenly back out of a potential deal after finding out that I worked from home, or refused to come to a meeting because it would be held at my house.

The fact of the matter is, people tend to think that entrepreneurs who work from home are just too lazy to get up and find a “proper” job, or that you’re not making enough money to rent out an appropriate office space. Regardless of how neat and tidy your home office is, the fact that it’s located in your house can give off the wrong impression to people.

Working Alone
While I often find that I can actually concentrate on work better when I’m alone, I still believe that working around people is something that can really be good for any entrepreneur (or any normal human being, for that matter :) ). Humans are social creatures, and becoming isolated by working from home can have negative effects. Like what Nathan says in his article, “working alone may lead to depression, insomnia, physical illness and more”. Even though some co-workers can be annoying and disruptive to your momentum, getting to chat with them during breaks can sometimes be a welcome relief from the tedium of work. And like what I said previously, having people around you can actually help you increase your productivity since you’ll feel more obligated to impress them with your work. :)

Working from home may sound like a lot of fun, there are negative consequences that you need to consider before you decide to go for it. Personally, I find that working from home is great when you’re just starting out, but as you progress in your career, you’ll really need to get out there and find an office space away from your home.

Adaire


Image by: Graur Razvan Ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



The Price is Right

July 18th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

Clients and customers can be fickle creatures. If your products or services are too expensive, they’ll drop you and look for someone more affordable. If your prices are too low, they’ll turn their noses up at you because your stuff is “cheap” or “low-quality.” This makes pricing one of the most important and challenging aspects of running a business.

As a small business owner, I myself have experienced this challenge first-hand. While I know how much my company’s services are worth, sometimes there are clients who are just not willing to pay the right price. When this happens, I normally just let the client go and find another who understands the quality of the services my business offers. This move is nothing personal; it’s just that I’m confident about my product’s prices and I know that they’re really worth much more than my competitors’ products. :)

While this strategy may work for me and my business, it may not work for other entrepreneurs. Many of you may be wondering how to figure out what the appropriate prices for your products or services are, and how you can tell when to adjust your prices to suit your market when the situation calls for it. Based on my own personal experience with pricing problems, I have a few words of advice to offer.

The first thing you need to do is consider your own expenses. The selling value of your product or service is primarily based on how much it cost you to produce them. Depending on your type of business, things that should be accounted for when you calculate your costs include materials, warehousing, labor, delivery, and other dues such as rent and advertising fees. The sum of all your expenses, plus a 20-30% profit margin, should be the actual price of your product or service. If your costs are extremely low (e.g. you saved a lot by purchasing materials in bulk, or you run an online business that costs significantly less than if you were running an actual store), you may consider setting your profit margin higher than 30%.

Your internal costs aren’t the only thing you need to account for when determining price, however. There’s still the matter of external factors such as the market itself and your competitors.

In the article “Pricing your Products and Services” from Small Business CEO Magazine, online direct sales and network marketing expert Sandi Krakowski emphasizes the importance of testing your market to find out how much your customers are willing to pay for what you’re offering. One way of doing this is by looking at your competition.

Sandi mentions her experience with a client who wanted to sell e-books as an example in her article. Her client’s e-book was priced at 50% less than their competitor’s, but their sales were decreasing. The client then decided to lower the price some more, thinking that a much lower price would earn them more sales. This plan didn’t work, and it was really starting to damage their business.

After taking a look at the competition’s prices, Sandi pointed out that her client was severely underpricing their product, leading their customers to lose interest in the book because they believed that the e-book was of lower quality compared to the competitors’. Sandi then recommended that the client push the price of their e-book up to just a little less than the competitors’, and this actually increased the sales.

Sometimes your problem may be caused by prices that are set too high for your target market. Sandi says that a good way to confirm that this is the issue is through conducting a sale. Putting your products up on sale means that you place lower prices on them for a certain time (while still making sure to indicate the original price). When running a sale Sandi says that you should “be careful to not put the sale price so low that you shoot yourself in the foot,” meaning that you still need to make sure that your sale should still be making a little profit. She recommends that you try a 25-30% discount and see how your market reacts.

Since your prices are based on your expenses, your market, and your competitors, you need to be prepared to make adjustments whenever necessary. If the prices of the raw materials that you used to produce your items go up, then you’ll need to adjust your prices to compensate for that. If there is a sudden spike in the demand for your product, consider putting your items on sale to increase the quantity of items you sell, or running other promos to stand out against your competition.

For you more experienced entrepreneurs out there who already have an existing pool of loyal clients, it may prove to be difficult to change your prices when the clients who have patronized your business for a long time are used to your existing rates. In this case, the best strategy is to apply your modified rates/prices only to your new clients. Think of it as turning your long-time customers into VIPs with perks, and as a way to encourage your clients to stick around and eventually benefit from the same perks.

When starting your small business, having a great product and effective advertising can only go so far. Making sure that your prices are right for your market or niche is the key to maximizing your profit and keeping your customers coming back for more.

Adaire


Image by: Keerati / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Getting Virtual Help For Your Business

July 12th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

With many companies conducting part of (or all of) their businesses online, the demand for virtual assistants has been increasing steadily. This is due to two key factors: the first is the constant pursuit of increased productivity at reduced costs, and the second is the need to keep up with the important advancements in technology that most business people don’t have time to study. Both of these factors are important to any modern business, and a virtual assistant can help you with both. But how do they do that, exactly?

They Let You Focus on What’s Important
When you first started with your business, you probably had big dreams based on your life-long passions – maybe you wanted to design the most innovative houses, or create clothes that would give the top fashion designers a run for their money. While dreaming big is fine, sometimes it blinds you to the reality of what you need to do to achieve those dreams. Starting a business is never simple – it involves a gazillion tasks such as creating a client database, managing mails, following up on payments, updating your blogs and social networks, scheduling of appointments, and many other tedious tasks. Sometimes these tasks and your personal issues can really pile up and stress you out, which will ultimately be bad for business.

Diana Ennen, a virtual assistant and co-author of many books regarding virtual assistants, says that virtual assistants can help you dig your way out of that pile of tasks. In an article on Small Business CEO Magazine called “Wake up and Partner with a Virtual Assistant”, Diana defines a virtual assistant as “an independent business professional who among many things, can help overwhelmed business owners handle administrative tasks so they can remain focused on their business.” Virtual assistants can perform tasks such as managing social networks, making travel arrangements, write press releases and correspondences, and much more.

When you have a virtual assistant to take care of the brunt of your tasks, you’ll finally be able to have some room to breathe, do other more important tasks, or spend time with your loved ones. And you won’t be pulling your hair out in frustration in the morning when you remember that there are so many tasks that need to be completed for the day. :)

You Get Value for Your Money
Entrepreneurs who are more traditional in their thinking and practice probably think that they’re better off with their personal assistant or secretary rather than working online with a virtual assistant. After all, you get to meet them in person and keep an eye on their progress yourself. While you may think that having an assistant who is physically present at your office will get you better value for your money, you have to remember that you’re not just paying for this person to come in to work every day. Keep in mind that you’re also paying for her benefits, vacation and sick leave, plus office space and supplies. Having a virtual assistant can actually cut down those costs significantly while still providing you with quality service, as Neha Sharma, a staff writer for VAssist247, discusses in an article on Small Business CEO Magazine.

In Neha’s article “Some Crucial Benefits of Getting Virtual Assistant Service”, she explains just how cost-effective a virtual assistant can be. The first thing she mentions is that you only pay the virtual assistant based on the number of hours and output that he or she delivers. The advantage of this is that you only get what you pay for, as opposed to paying a personal assistant a regular, daily salary even on slow business days wherein he doesn’t have much to work on.

And if a virtual assistant fails to give you what you paid for, you can simply end your subscription and look for another virtual assistant to get the job done. :)

Virtual Assistants are Jacks of All Trades
Neha also noted that another advantage that virtual assistants have is that they’re well-equipped with skills in almost every field. Since they are expected to do a variety of tasks ranging from travel arrangements to secretarial tasks, this is a given for any virtual assistant. You don’t need to train them virtual assistant to do anything; they should be able to start working on their tasks as soon as you hire them.

As you can see, there are many good reasons for you to hire a virtual assistant. If you’ve never hired a virtual assistant before, you don’t need to be nervous or skeptical; there are many reliable virtual assistant services out there, and it wouldn’t really hurt to give them a try. You may even learn some new things from your virtual assistant, specifically when it comes to the various technological advancements that may help you with your business.

So what are you waiting for? Why don’t you go ahead and do your research on virtual assistants and hire one for your business today? You can start by trying out the virtual assistant services provided by DoneForYouSolutions.com, which was founded by none other than our very own Ric Thompson.

Adaire


Image by: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Blogging a hit

June 28th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

Creating a song requires talent, uniqueness, creativity, musical knowledge, and passion. The hard work behind every song is however not a guarantee that they will become popular hits. The same is true with blogging. Consistently writing and posting new blogs does not necessarily equate to more hits to your site.

Like songwriting, you need the perfect timing and promotion for your posts to succeed. Like songwriting, you also need to guess what greatly interests the majority to attract their attention. Blogging a hit is not as complicated as you think it is. Just like songwriting, you just need to remember some rules of the trade.

Blog is not a Research Paper
Saying that “blog is not a research paper” does not mean we discount the importance of the sincerity and accurateness when creating blogs. With the availability of so much data online, gathering details and supporting information to come up with a decent blog should not be problematic and time-consuming.

I’ve read Alex Whaley’s Small Business CEO Magazine article What Blogging has Taught Me in 7 Months Online and I agree that bloggers have this tendency to be overwhelmed with Internet information. Instead of coming up with a concise blog, the result is just putting together random information pieces. Another SBCEO piece entitled Article Writing and Affiliate Marketing – Why One Needs The Other employed the same thought. The author of the latter post, Scott Bradley, exerts that blogging does not require absolute perfection. Whether it’s inspired by what you saw in the magazine, on another website or from a text message you’ve just received, just go ahead and write it! :)

Apart from being obsessed with details, some bloggers are stuck in trying to write original pieces. No matter how hard you try, chances are what you are about to say has been posted already. But, as Alex put it, there is no law that penalizes duplicate posting of contents online. Besides, writing about a topic that has been mentioned or discussed previously may mean that this topic already has a following. Since your blog is related, followers will most likely read your blog too. :)

Keywords and Tags
You may always have new blogs that contain interesting content but you don’t know how to get people to read it. Your blog may provide vital information to people who need answers to certain questions, but you don’t know how they will find it. This is what keywords and tags are for. These words are embedded in the content of your blog so that when somebody types in their search words, your blog gets a hit.

As an expert on keyword blogging on keyword research, page optimization and niche site marketing, Alex suggests that you define “five to six key phrases” that your target market would normally use for online search. Once determined, “use these keywords consistently” throughout your blog, especially for the hyperlinks.

What is a hyperlink? It is a link embedded in a word or picture that readers click on to take them to another web page. There are two types of hyperlinks, inbound and outbound. Inbound links are the links from other pages which directs to your page while outbound links are links found in your page that direct or open up other pages when clicked.

When you embed outbound hyperlinks, check that the landing page address is correct. Dead links are very annoying. Nothing is more frustrating to a reader when he clicks a link and receives a 404 error page instead.

Going back, keyword optimization entails a bit of research. You have to determine what your readers will use when searching online so that your blog will get hit when these words are searched. Example, for new visitors to this site, how did you land onto this page? Did you google “blog writing” or “blog marketing”? For keywords to drive traffic, these should be specifically what your blog is talking about and what your target market is using for searches.

Web Syndication
While keywords can help your blog get hits through search engines, web syndication can help expose your blog some more. Needless to say, the more inbound links your blog has from other sites, the more hits you get and web syndication is the answer to getting more inbound links. One of the most popular ways to generate hits is to post your blog links in social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Although these are effective, there are a lot more ways to do web syndication.

For successful web syndication, you need to know your target market and chase them. Apart from Facebook and Twitter, what else do they do online? For example, do they have LinkedIn accounts? If so, create a LinkedIn account and post your blog links there. How about other blog sites with high viewership that are related to your topics? Try subscribing and if possible, place interesting comments and contribute blogs there and make sure to link your own blog site. :)

Affiliate marketing or blogging with the intention of promoting a particular site (and what it offers i.e. products, services, etc.) is another way to increase inbound links. Referring to Scott’s article again, for a blog to be an effective affiliate marketing tool, it must provide the “information the people are looking for.” The more customers patronize the products or services you blog about, the more hits your blogs get.

In summary, there are two important components in writing blogs that hit. First, write what your target market is looking for and second, let readers find you by being everywhere. :)

Adaire


Image by: zizz0104 / sxc.hu



Cngratulations, Doug Jordan!

June 22nd, 2011 by Ric in Financial Freedom, Sharing Success

Congrats to Doug Jordan for getting his new Automated Cash Sites up and running!
http://www.breakthechainsthatbind.com/tony-robbins/



“Video-mercials” for your Business

June 21st, 2011 by Liz in Financial Freedom, Sharing Success

“Some things can be perfectly expressed by sound alone and images would only be disturbing. Other times, sound would be possible, but visuals are much stronger and closer to what I want to express and then again, they sometimes overlap perfectly.”
~ Alva Noto

It’s a visual world and people respond to visuals. No matter how well crafted the print ad, how well written the brochure, there are still some things left unsaid by the written word. Sometimes, a live, 3-dimensional talking visual is what it takes for a potential customer to make a purchase. And with so many businesses being conducted over the web, videos as a promotional tool should be part of any business’ internet marketing.

Kent Simpson, a home-based businessman for 20 years now, has made use of this technique. He gives examples in his Internet Marketing – The Net Today article Using Video for Business Promotion.

The nature of the video can vary depending on the message you want to get across. Whatever it is, efficient marketing dictates that your video presents a value to your market – it should respond to the wants and wishes of potential customers. Here are the examples that Kent listed:

  • Testimonials
  • Product Demos
  • Case Studies
  • Product Critiques
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Webinars
  • Business
  • Enterprise Review

Why use “video-mercials”

Any normal business with a website can take advantage of today’s technology to grow their customer base, increase purchase frequency, solidify customer loyalty, and ultimately, grow the business.

1. It’s a visual world, and most of the time, emotions are evoked and actions are taken because of something that we saw and heard. A video about your product or service is an effective way to communicate
2. It’s quick & effective. If a picture says a thousand words, a video is a million. It’s an effective medium to communicate your message across in a very clear and straightforward manner. Instead of having to leaf through a brochure or sales letter, customers will be grateful that all they have to do is click and watch.
3. It’s a personal approach. With a video, your product or service or website is not just a name, but also a face and a voice that is tangible to them. Customers can relate to you more easily that to a mere website and the written word.
4. It hastens customer conversion. You can post a video that leads on to a link to your website, and customers who click on it can be identified as “hot” prospects. The next steps are up to you.
5. It’s a louder voice among the crowd. Your video gives you an edge to stand out among the competition. It’s a way to differentiate your business from the rest, with the look & feel that your video is designed.
6. It can boost your searchability in the search engines. The videos you upload in social video hosting sites can be tagged with key words appropriate to your business website. This then increases your search probabilities every time the key words are used in the search engines.

Internet marketing has countless benefits especially to the small business entrepreneur. With limited promo funds, creating and posting videos on the net is an economical and effective way to reach as many as your target market at a very fast rate. Take advantage of this and see how it helps grow your business. I’ll be happy to hear from you and the success stories you have as a result of your own “video-mercial.”

Signing off,
Liz


Image by: hberends / sxc.hu



Inside Job: Advertising from Within

May 10th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

Starting a business is a big investment. It requires significant amount of money, time and energy. That is why, running it should be equally given full attention and care. A big, and usually the most intricate, part of operating a business is building the brand through advertising.

Advertising is usually attributed to using a medium, either print, radio TV or internet. However, in the Healthy Wealthy n Wise article “Small Business Marketing and Advertising Ideas to Increase your Small Business Sales”, the author, Claude Whitacre, talks about advertising being internally integrated in the business operations. Claude cites effective business tips that can increase client base and business returns.

Eye Candy

Yes, your business should be pleasing to the eyes because most first-time clients are gained through first impression. Claude gives emphasis on the importance of making your place of business (i.e. shops or restaurants) very inviting through visual appeal.

While it seems menial, keeping your parking space occupied gives an impression that many people come to your place so it should be worth a try. On the contrary, make sure that there is enough space for upcoming customers. You don’t want to discourage them with the unavailability of space.

Inside, customers will best appreciate your products and services if the place is sufficiently lit. Imagine an art gallery that looks dark, buyers won’t be able to appreciate the details if the artworks are not properly lit. So how can you expect a sale? Open your clients’ eyes to the real beauty of your offer through effective lighting.

Music to the Ears

Sound, just like light, travels fast to reach your target even without them looking (i.e. when driving). That is why audio such as on-location call outs and music are also very effective in luring customers to come give your service a try.

Sounds add entertainment value and also ease out either the background noise or awkward silence. When choosing the music, make sure it is appropriate for your business. Spa audio should be soothing so it should be light and not too loud. Restaurants music should be a bit livelier but should not overpower conversations. Meanwhile, clubs and bars appear more exciting with very loud and fast music on.

Heaven Scent

Good smell is not only about making the food appetizing or setting an ambience. The place itself should smell hygienic. Apart from keeping it clean, Claude suggests keeping your shop smelling fresh by doing away with odor causes such as smoking and pets.

Another common odor cause is the comfort room. If possible, choose a business location that offers a common comfort room. Not only will this avoid unpleasant smell, this will also free you from cleaning obligations. However, if you already have one, just make sure that the trash inside is regularly emptied and the comfort room is kept spic and span.

Mark Your Words

Having a potential client come see your shop is an achievement. Hence, you must make the most of this opportunity to build and sustain a relationship with your client. Signs or plaque cards are the most direct ways to communicate. Sadly, these are the most taken-for-granted channels.

As Claude put it, your business sign should be lit even night so you get that extra exposure beyond business hours. In addition, Claude advises to avoid putting up signs that can possibly offend, harass or turn off such as political and racial statements.

As a Marketing and Local Advertising expert and author of the book The Unfair Advantage Small Business Advertising Manual, Claude understands how advertising can be best used as a business tool.

Remember, the success of advertising lies not on what you try to portray but being able to back up your claims with perceivable truths that will win the trust and hearts of your customers! :)

More than promises, make your advertisements an experience!

Adaire


Image by: Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Take Charge of your Life

April 5th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

As I flipped through the TV channels, I got caught up in this show, a dance competition. Admittedly, the choreographies are superb and the contenders are just…divine! But in that episode, one thing got stuck in my mind, the comment given by one of the judges to a pair who did a Wade Robson routine.

In a nutshell, the comment was about the pair being ready for any type of dance given to them. Instead of being a victim of a dance genre outside their forté, this pair, once given a routine, takes full control and owns the performance!

Not only did I readily agree with this remark, I was so inspired as well! :) Just like those dancers, life throws unto us a hodge-podge of things: bonuses, jokes, work, emergencies, emotions, accomplishment, conflicts, friends, opportunities and many more. How do we take all these?

Contentment vs Disappointment

Debra Kasowski, a speaker, coach and author and founder of The Millionaire Woman, outlines a few thought-provoking points about taking responsibility of one’s actions in her, How to Take Responsibility For Your Own Actions at Healthy Wealthy N Wise.

Debra mentioned two absolute truths, “Life is what you make it” and “Your happiness depends on you”. Unfortunately, most people usually fail to put these into practice as they choose disappointment over contentment. It is not wrong to be ambitious and to keep pushing for more. However, not being able to appreciate your possessions also means not having them at all.

Example, you worked hard to earn money and be able to buy a car. Finally, you did. However, a newer model came out and you want that one so badly! You then decide to save up again for the newer model. To do this, you opt to just leave your existing car at home so you can cut down on gas expense. Bottom line, you’re carless even if actually have one because you choose to want more instead of savoring what you have.

Contentment also lies in setting your priorities. As Debra stated, “you are the one who knows what is important to you, you need to choose and balance what you want to achieve”. Recognize the fact that you cannot have everything all at once. But instead of focusing on what’s missing, concentrate on what you have and use these to gain and become more, not otherwise.

Frustration vs Motivation

As a motivator, Debra loves to inspire and empower people to become rich from inside and out. Among the most common hindrances in enriching one’s life is frustration, therefore, its causes must be dealt with.

Frustration usually springs up from not having a crystal clear understanding of what you want. Not knowing what you want is like treasure-hunting without a map or a compass. You walk and walk, pour out your time and energy, give your all, but still end up nowhere. Before anything else, determine your goals. Once you have already discerned them, you can then plot out your strategy to achieve them. Just like a map to a hidden wealth, this gives a better vision of your path, a definite source of motivation. :)

The road to getting what you want is often rough and bumpy. Instead of looking at these as setbacks which indeed cause frustration, treat these as challenges. As Debra put it, stop “blaming, complaining or making excuses”. You are the master of your life, therefore, you must stay in control, don’t lose it! Think about how you wanted to get this done for yourself. In the end, the most blissful rewards are those out of difficulty. :)

Apart from your personal goals, another common cause of frustration is unresolved differences with the people around you (either a loved-one, a workmate or a friend). This is the reason why the word compromise exists, to strike a balance among people of varying desires. Find that win-win situation by recognizing each other’s preferences and devising a plan to meet both ends.

Yourself vs Support Group

Taking responsibility of your own actions does not mean carrying all the burden by yourself. A better strategy to seeking your own happiness is identifying ways to lessen your work load and still gain more- working smart that is. Example: If you have friends or relatives with specialized businesses, seek their help and advice in forming your own.

Apart from knowing your resources, study your options. Do not limit your way up by what you know, always try to learn new techniques. With the advancement of technology, it is possible that there is an easier process of doing things as opposed to the traditional method you may know.

Now, for you to effectively saturate your resources and options, communicate clearly what you want to achieve. For example, if you want to outsource a service to get rid of the menial tasks, you must be precise on your delegation. The same goes with your family and friends, don’t be ashamed to speak up if you need help. As mentioned in Debra’s article, “people want to help others achieve, to be able contribute to your success”. :)

I am no dancer but everyone knows that it’s really hard to deliver a type of dance which is outside your forte, totally different from your comfort zone. Whether in a competition or not, that’s the reality of life and you always have the choice to make it better for yourself and for the people you care for.

From this day on, no more pointing of fingers, you be in charge! :)

With you every step of the way,

Adaire


Image by:Graur Razvan Ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Employment Ethics

March 22nd, 2011 by Liz in Financial Freedom

“A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

At this point of economic recession, a period that the Federal Reserve calls “the disappointingly slow” U.S. recovery toward a faster pace of growth, it can only mean that the 14.8 million unemployed Americans may stay that way much longer than everyone hopes for.

Trading Economics states that “the unemployment rate in the United States was last reported at 9.60 percent in October of 2010.” Many of us may know a number of people who are among this statistic, a spouse, a friend, or a relative. And for many of us, unemployment, and the serious issues tied with it, is all too real, and hits very close to home.

Just a few hours ago, I came across an article in The Huffington Post about a disturbing job add with red print at the bottom saying “The unemployed need not be considered.” This ad is by a Texas-based electronics company in need of a “Quality Engineer”. The ad is currently posted in The People Place, a job recruitment website for the telecoms, aerospace, defense and engineering industries.

I feel you, Dianne

Reading this article reminded me of the Small Business CEO’s online magazine, September 2010 issue, Admin section. This is probably why Dianne Shaddock, founder of www.EasySmallBusinessHR.com wrote her article Should Companies Not Hire the Unemployed? I sensed that hers was an emotional piece, and I could read mixed anger and disappointment in between the lines:

“There are a lot of really good people out there who are unemployed and we are doing them a disservice if we are writing them off even though they are qualified on paper for job opportunities.

Even poor performers deserve a second chance as sometimes it is a situation of job fit, or conflicting styles between the supervisor and the employee that results in an employee being labeled a poor performer.”

Dianne, being an HR professional, felt strongly about the ethics of recruitment, and essentially, giving each job candidate equal chance.

When to hire and when to let go

This is definitely a hot topic for both job seekers and recruiters, which is why, in the same September 2010 issue of Small Business CEO’s online magazine, Craig Nathanson talked about “Hiring and Letting Go.” Craig is the founder of The Best Manager™, provider of workshops and products that aim to bring out the best in those who manage and lead others.

Being a 25 year management veteran, Craig gave experienced advice on an organization’s process for hiring, evaluating and letting go. In a way, he talked about appropriate HR and organization ethics that breeds a healthy system for both employee and employer.

“When hiring, the best manager looks at three following factors: if the person has the ability to do the role, if the person has motivation to do the role, and if the person fits well with the existing staff.”
According to Craig, most recruiters hire based on what’s written on the applicant’s resume alone. Critical evaluations on the applicant’s motivation and culture adaptability, which are important for finding “a good fit” become secondary considerations. Aside from the applicant’s skill set, personality, work style and skills background should be looked into.

Humane approach for hiring and letting go

If a new hire does not perform as expected, Craig says that it does not necessarily mean that HR made a mistake in their choice. “The success of the hired person depends on the whole system. For example, a demanding micro-manager will get less performance out of the same person who, instead, might be doing well enough working for a smarter manger.”

The emotional rollercoaster I found myself on after all this talk on unfair treatment for the unemployed, sort of balanced out with Craig’s reminder that “the best manager knows that it’s the system that determines the behavior and performance of its members” and that when it’s time to let go of an employee, the best manager knows that the humanistic moral approach is the only right approach.

Why this policy for the unemployed is unethical

Why Dianne Shaddock’s article Should Companies Not Hire the Unemployed? was in the end, an appeal to fellow HR professionals to do the right thing for all job candidates whose resumes land on their tables….

That company ad reported by the Huffington Post has an obvious employment policy that is ethically inexcusable. More so at this time when majority of those desperate to land a job is among the 14 million Americans who are currently unemployed. This policy is based on wrong generalized assumptions – that the applicant is unemployed because of performance issues, and does not even consider lay off realities. And a job seeker who comes across an ad with those words gets a hard kick in their gut; something, they don’t need at the moment.

Like Dianna and Craig, it is my fervent hope, that organizations and businesses will have humanely responsible policies on employment for those qualified and desiring to be given a chance.

Liz


Image by: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Time is Money – Spend it Wisely

March 8th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

I have written and read so many articles on making the most out of the hours we have in a day but there are just days that we can’t seem to be productive as much as we wanted to be. I don’t want to be wasting your time so I would be cutting the chase. Here’s a rundown of quick tips on managing your time well. :)

Simple Plans

Now I know you’ve read this several times but, just like me, perhaps you are not doing it right. Most people, especially the overly organized ones, spend too much time for planning that the time left for execution is compromised (Guilty! :) ).

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being organized. In fact, planning is one of the pieces of advice cited by Mia Redrick in her Health Wealthy n Wise Article entitled “Do You Need More Hours in a Day?”. Planning in advance lessens the stress and anxiety as you are able to anticipate and juggle your work and personal life, including those of your husband and children if you have a family to take care of.

However, make sure that you do not dwell in the planning stage. A straightforward checklist will do. Remember, this only serves as your guide so you can estimate what is feasible and what is not. Don’t try to fit in those which are impossible because you will only frustrate yourself if you do. As Mia put it, eliminate what is not working. Accomplish the most important ones and then try to do the lesser priorities only if time allows it.

Keep your Plate Small

All of us want to accomplish a lot of things in a day but this does not mean you have to do everything by yourself. Mia suggested two ways to get the work load of you.

First is you must delegate tasks. Household chores can be allocated among your children. Apart from lessening your burden, you also teach your children to become responsible and mature. Delegation can be a bit tedious at first especially because they are still learning. Once they get the hang of it, they can work independently and you can even add up some more tasks for them.

Second is outsourcing. Most people think it’s wiser to do things by yourself so you get to save from unnecessary service fees. However, if these tasks eat up your schedule to the point that you no longer get to spend quality time with the family, do you think it’s still worth it? Why don’t you try having your groceries delivered or your laundry serviced and have more time to enjoy weekends with your family? :)

In addition, I also would like you to learn how to say no. As a writer, I always get excited when a new client asks for my service until it came to the point that I no longer enjoy writing because I am such in a hurry to finish just to meet my deadlines. Mia mentioned going for quality over quantity. For me, this means knowing your limitations and arranging your load in accordance to it.

Combination Activities

There are ways for you to hit two birds with one stone. Take for example, exercise. You can either run in the treadmill with your earphones on or you can walk the dogs with your kids. Not only will you be able to get that daily dose of workout, you also have worked out the dogs and had fun with your kids as well.

Avail of rest and relaxation activities while waiting for the kids to finish their karate or gymnastics. Always find time to pamper yourself through spa massage, facial treatment, hair styling and other rewarding activities.

Pausing for a break is not a waste time! If you overwork yourself too much, you will lose energy and you will not be able to savor or give your best to most of your to do’s. End result – time wasted on mediocrity. Give yourself a chance to breathe, rest and recover so you get the most from all the goals you have set for your day.

Like most women, Mia Redrick juggles a lot of tasks as a mom of three, an author and also a speaker of empowering mothers to practice better self-care. If she is able to do it, so can you! :)

Spend time wisely! :)

Adaire


Image by: vuk011 / sxc.hu